BRUNSWICK – Coming into Wednesday’s Eastern Maine Class A contest against rival Mt. Ararat/Lisbon at Sidney J. Watson Arena, the Brunswick High School boys’ ice hockey team had scored just one goal in the past three games, all losses.
Through two periods against the Eagles, the Dragons were looking at goose eggs once again as Mt. Ararat/Lisbon goaltender Zach O’Connor made save after save, 18 in all through 30 minutes.
Brunswick finally scored to break the scoreless skid, but Mt. Ararat answered to force overtime. That is where Dragons defenseman Cam Heatley came to the rescue, blasting a shot past O’Connor on the power play three minutes into overtime to give Brunswick a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
The win evens Brunswick’s mark at 5-5, with Gray-New Gloucester/Poland scheduled to visit Watson Arena on Saturday at 8 p.m. Heatley is hoping this win helps the Dragons get on a roll, especially in the goal-scoring department.
“This is a big win for us, with us struggling against some tough teams,” said Heatley, whose goal came a short time after the Eagles nearly ended it on the power play at the other end of the ice, with Bru Abreu’s wrister striking the cross bar over the shoulder of Brunswick netminder Blake Alexander, who had 19 saves in the win.
Heatley’s game-winner was set up by the hard work of Matt Brooks. He battled a Mt. Ararat (3-7) defender along the boards before feeding Parker Wild, who sent a cross-rink pass to Heatley, who took two strides before unleashing a slapshot just inside the left post.
“I saw the goalie and just tried to hit him and hopefully get a rebound,” said Heatley of his shot. “I hope this gets us going.”
Mt. Ararat/Lisbon coach Mike Bishop was far from disappointed in his team’s efforts.
“We outplayed them for a good part of that game, and it is truly a game of inches, with that shot hitting the crossbar,” said Bishop, whose squad hits the road to Bridgdon Academy on Saturday against Fryeburg Academy/Lake Region at 4 p.m. “I am so proud of them. I am sorry they didn’t get the win, knowing that a win or a tie would be huge for Heal Points. They didn’t quit tonight.”
Brunswick held an 18-12 shots advantage through two periods, with O’Connor and Alexander pitching shutouts.
The Dragons fired 10 of the first 12 shots in the third period, with O’Connor making a sprawling save on Dwayne Palmer, and key stops on Heatley and Wild to keep the game scoreless.
At the other end, Mt. Ararat/Lisbon forward Eric Stuckey, with the Eagles skating two-men down, broke behind the Brunswick defense. He was hauled down and crashed into Alexander. Awarded a penalty shot, Stuckey made a move to his forehand, but Alexander stood tall and made the save.
Just over one minute later, Brunswick finally broke through on the power play. Palmer corralled the puck in the Eagles zone and fired the puck off a pile in front and past O’Connor for the game’s first goal.
A penalty on Brunswick gave the Eagles a power play. Moments after the penalty expired, Mt. Ararat/Lisbon cashed in, a wrister by Shane Cyr slipping through a mass of players in front of Alexander and into the cage with 4:52 remaining in regulation.
Another penalty on the Dragons late in regulation gave Mt. Ararat/Lisbon a chance on the power play as the game slipped into overtime. The Eagles, who recently downed Edward Little in a similar situation, fired two shots on Alexander, and Abreu’s wrister struck iron to keep the game deadlocked.
Brunswick earned a power-play chance moments later, and Heatley gave the Dragons the 2-1 win.
Brunswick was two of six on the power play, while Mt. Ararat/Lisbon failed on four opportunities with the man advantage.
O’Connor finished with 33 saves, while Alexander turned aside 19 shots.